Ruling party is invariably unhappy with Election Commission: Quraishi

December 4th, 2007 - 6:21 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Dec 4 (ANI): Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi has said that Indian experience has been that while the party in power is almost invariably unhappy with the Election Commission, the opposition parties love it.
In an interview to Gfiles, Quraishi said: Our experience is that while the party in power is almost invariably unhappy with us, the opposition parties love us. But once the opposition party becomes the ruling party the roles get reversed.
Our aim is to provide a level playing field and this tends to annoy the party in power. The fact of the matter is that ruling parties have access to government funds and other facilities which they like to use but we do not permit, the 1971-batch IAS officer explained.
He said: Both the ruling and the opposition parties realise, especially when they are no longer in power, just how much they stand to benefit from our interventions.
For instance, he said, after former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadavs party lost the State Assembly elections to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), he (Mulayam) went around issuing statements that he had not lost to Mayawati but to the Election Commission.
But when Mulayams Samajwadi Party (SP) won one out of the three recent bye-elections in Uttar Pradesh, and the BSP won the other two, Quraishi said: This time, he (Mulayam) expressed complete satisfaction with the way the Election Commission had conducted the poll.
We address every single grievance that we receive and we ensure that the polls are conducted in a fair and transparent manner, he said, adding There is an increasing need to micro-manage the elections.
To the question, how does the EC ensure that the enormous power exercised by the EC during an election is not misused, he said the framers of the Constitution have put in place sufficient checks and balances for it.
The biggest in-built check is that there are three of us (Election Commissioners) and each has an equal vote and all decisions are taken by a majority vote, he said in the interview published in the November 2007 issue of the Gfiles.
Quraishi said 99.9 percent of the time our decisions tend to be unanimous.
That has been my experience during the 15 months that I have been here, he added.
The Commission has been constituted in such a manner that no one can take an arbitrary decision. If any one member were to try and attempt such a thing, the other two are present to correct the situation, he said.
Quraishi further said it has also been ensured that the bureaucracy, which is often linked to the government, does not overtake the Commissions decision.
We follow all complaints very carefully. If we receive a complaint (against a bureaucrat) from a political party or civil society, we investigate it immediately. We also monitor all media reports; if we feel something is not right, we go ahead and take action, the former Doordarshan Director General said.
Without naming any state which was exceptionally difficult to monitor, Quraishi said Every state has its own problem.
While Jammu and Kashmir and the north-eastern states face the problem of militancy, UP and Bihar faced rigging and booth capturing, and others faced communal and caste tensions, he said.
About the forthcoming elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, Quraishi said Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh asked for a postponement, while in the latter there has been some criticism about the Election Commissions decision to transfer police officials.
All this is part of the democratic process, he said. (ANI)

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